Among white Americans, skin cancer is the most common form of cancer. One in five people from this background will get some form of skin cancer during their lifetimes, according to epidemiological data. The three major forms of skin cancer are basal cell carcinoma, squamos cell carcinoma and melanoma.
Recently, Jilali Han and co-authors of Harvard and Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston looked at two large samples of data from the Nurses Health Study (n=122,000 women) and the Health Professionals Followup Study (n=52,000 men) in which lifestyle habits were recorded over a period of 24 and 22 years, respectively, along with health and disease outcomes.
The authors used statistical analysis techniques to correlate the quantity of caffeine consumed versus the incidence of different types of the three most common skin cancers.
The results of the analysis showed that subjects who drank the highest amount of caffeine (equivalent to 4-5 cups of coffee per day) had the lowest risk of basal cell carcinoma skin cancer. Given that approximately 80 percent of caffeine consumption is in the form of coffee (with the rest coming mainly from colas), the conclusion can be drawn from this study that drinking coffee can modestly reduce the probability of getting the most common form of skin cancer.
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